I’ve noticed a lot of people throwing stones lately. With the eruption of personal blogs, rampant tweets and sadistic Facebook posts, there seems to be more upheaval and discord than ever before. Opinions abound. Accusations fly. Many of these voices in the wind are those who might suggest love as their motivation, but in reality, their misguidedness results in nothing more than further dissention. Under the guise of bringing light to the darkness and clarity to the confusion, such speechmakers only manifest further animosity and confusion.
John 13:35 states that those around us will know us by our love for one another, but so many Christians choose to point fingers instead of showing love. If we truly want others to know the truth of God’s word, we must be first willing to actively apply it to our own lives. Build relationships. Pursue Him. Over time, the goodness of His ways permeate our lives, producing good fruit, which we can then lovingly share with those around us. Shouting from the rooftops that this preacher is wrong, or that church doesn’t practice correct theology, only turns the rest of the world away from God’s truth. They will know us by our love, not our doctrine.
Some might argue that we are called to hold one another into accountability, but I would submit that Christ called us to, 1. share the good news and, 2. make disciples. One cannot coerce or guilt someone into being a disciple, but rather a disciple is made when that person sees the value of the goodness of a relationship with Christ, and pursues it themselves. As we lead lives that glorify God, we then link arms with those who also want to take the same journey. THAT is discipleship.
Other perhaps might disagree with me, saying that when false prophets speak out, it’s our job to call them into accountability. I would respond that 1. we are not the Holy Spirit, 2. it is the individual believer’s responsibility to discover God’s truth and His path for them, 3. throwing accusations against a fellow Christian not only turns others off to the faith, but is also an extremely dangerous undertaking – God does not take it lightly when we attack His kids. (Before you self-righteously state that those people clearly can’t be believers based on their theology, I caution you not to judge the salvation of another – even Jesus himself said he was not here to judge).
If we truly love God, then we must love His people. To truly love people, we must understand human nature. We can jump up and down and “say” all day we only want to free people from the lies of false doctrine, but if our concern is honestly for those who are lost, we must go back to walking in love. Intolerance and mud-slinging will not bring anyone closer to Christ, nor will it set anyone free, but rather add yet another form of bondage to those unfortunate enough to get caught in the crossfire.
When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, he said to her, “go, and sin no more.” We can tend to get caught up on that part. But Jesus was super smart, and she was willing to hear truth after he did a few things.
1. Jesus broke religious and cultural protocol to talk to her, to share with her as a human being. He built relationship.
2. Jesus revealed evidence of God’s power when he told her all about herself. He revealed he knew things about her that he couldn’t have known otherwise. He revealed the supernatural in his own life.
3. He let the truth of who he was be the impetus for her excitedly sharing, and pointing people back to him. He never felt the need to convince her of who he was – he just walked in who he was and she noticed he was different.
Even when Jesus warned against the Pharisees, he spoke in parables. Those who had hearts to hear rebuke and recognize truth, did – he never chose to point at them or call out specific names. Ultimately, Jesus himself trusted in, and relied upon, the Holy Spirit to reveal truth, open hearts, free spirits and point people back to their loving Creator.
Please do not be deceived by your own “wisdom” or by the screamings of others when it seems to be truth (and might be!), but is shrouded in hate and accusation. There is no life there. Only death.
Remember, they will know us by our love….